Chapter Fifteen

LATE THAT JANUARY afternoon, an ordinary young man in a new store suit and a pretty young woman wearing a dove-grey dress sat tightly holding hands and gazing with fixed intensity through the window of a dingy third-class compartment in the almost empty train labouring up the Rhondda Valley from Cardiff. All day long, after our wedding, my wife and I had travelled from Scotland, changing at Carlisle and Shrewsbury, and the final stage of our long journey to South Wales found us strung to a state of increasing tension at the prospects of beginning our life together in this strange, disfigured country.

Outside, a grey mist was swirling down between the black mountains which rose on either side, scarred by ore workings, blemished by great heaps of slag on which a few mangy sheep wandered in vain hope of pasture. No bush, no blade of grass was visible. The trees, seen in the fading light, were gaunt and stunted spectres. At a curve of the line the red glare of a foundry flashed into sight, illuminating a score of workmen stripped to the waist, their torsos straining, arms upraised to strike. Then the searing vision was swiftly lost behind the huddled top gear of a mine.

Darkness had fallen, emphasising the strangeness and remoteness of the scene when, some minutes later, the engine panted into Tregenny, the end township of the valley and the terminus of the line. We had arrived at last. Gripping our suitcase, I leaped from the train and helped my bride to alight.

At the station exit we paused, disappointed in our expectation

-135-

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Adventures in Two Worlds
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Part One 1
  • Chapter One 3
  • Chapter Two 13
  • Chapter Three 22
  • Chapter Four 28
  • Chapter Five 40
  • Chapter Six 50
  • Chapter Seven 59
  • Chapter Eight 68
  • Chapter Nine 75
  • Chapter Ten 82
  • Chapter Eleven 92
  • Chapter Twelve 102
  • Chapter Thirteen 112
  • Chapter Fourteen 123
  • Part Two 133
  • Chapter Fifteen 135
  • Chapter Sixteen 143
  • Chapter Seventeen 151
  • Chapter Eighteen 159
  • Chapter Nineteen 171
  • Part Three 181
  • Chapter Twenty 183
  • Chapter Twenty-One 189
  • Chapter Twenty-Two 200
  • Chapter Twenty-Three 208
  • Chapter Twenty-Four 214
  • Chapter Twenty-Five 222
  • Chapter Twenty-Six 230
  • Chapter Twenty-Seven 236
  • Chapter Twenty-Eight 244
  • Chapter Twenty-Nine 252
  • Part Four 257
  • Chapter Thirty 259
  • Chapter Thirty-One 266
  • Chapter Thirty-Two 275
  • Chapter Thirty-Three 279
  • Chapter Thirty-Four 287
  • Chapter Thirty-Five 292
  • Chapter Thirty-Six 297
  • Chapter Thirty-Seven 301
  • Chapter Thirty-Eight 309
  • Chapter Thirty-Nine 314
  • Chapter Forty 321
  • Chapter Forty-One 328
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